Actually, Recruiting is Not HR Anymore

Sep 5, 2013
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Recruitment, now widely referred to as talent acquisition, has and continues to evolve enough that we are really have become our own animal, not a cage in someone else’s zoo.

From order-taking and administration to educating and advising to consulting means we have become a value added service to any organization, regardless of their size or industry. The 16th Annual Global CEO Survey from PwC revealed that global talent shortages are still a top concern for CEOs worldwide. Human capital is the top challenge as noted by the Conference Board CEO Challenge 2013.

Gone are the days of help-wanted advertisements responded by the typewritten or fax resume. Receiving stacks of paper resumes and cover letters where the norm was to divide them into A-B-C piles with written notes on suitability; then transferring the volumes of paper into a basic searchable database with electronic notes was really not that long ago. Using a simple chart to tally how many resumes received, screened, declined, interviewed, and hired provided the first-level reporting. Headhunters relied on their Rolodex to place candidates.

Nowadays, the ATS is the heavily invested tool companies rely on for recruitment activities and reporting. In other words, welcome the cumbersome, process driven, Big Brother, and time-consuming aid. Some are better than others; however, the purpose of the ATS is not necessarily to make the recruiter’s role easier, efficient, or more effective. It is built for the supervisors to pull reports and to enable an online experience for candidates. Candidates still offer feedback that their resume is uploaded to a “black hole” and when they receive an electronic message to acknowledge or decline their application, the mass communication lacks a personal connection and trust in the organization they seek employment with. The two-way human interaction is missing from the “enabled, candidate focused” system. The reports are often riddled with the potential risk of poor data integrity. For the recruiter, the task of reading every resume received and determining yes to screen or decline or maybe is not unlike the previous method of A-B-C piles.

Job boards dominated the market, offering the candidate access to job listings from multiple industries in one easy place. Over time, they offered employers the opportunity to market not only their hiring needs, but also their employment brand. Today, organizations rely on their corporate website and sites such as LinkedIn to achieve the same goal. Job search engines such as Eluta and Indeed allow candidates to search many employer websites in hopes to find a new job.

RPO hit the market and many industries have tried and some continue to employ this outsourcing model. Vendor management systems bridge the relationship between agencies or headhunters and their corporate clients.

Testing and assessment centers were once heavily relied upon and today online psychometric testing are used to assess a candidate’s fit. “Which-animal-are-you?” interview type of questions were popular and lately we are accustomed to the series of behavioral interview questions.

Currently, social media, social networking, and online interviewing helps create a positive and interactive communication with candidates, hire top talent, and enhance one’s employment brand. Mobile technology offers better means to enhance the two way communication with candidates.

Sourcing became (and still is) a critical skill for recruiters. With the presence of Google and access to the Internet, Boolean search strings became a hot commodity. Today, innovative ways to source or headhunt top talent is an art form. Professional networking groups opened doors for one to attend events as a recruiter and network to uncover the next best candidate. LinkedIn took this notion to the next level tenfold, and today many recruiters use this professional social media website as their main hunting ground.

LinkedIn Recruiter provides a solution to managing talent pools. CRM is the latest buzz for recruitment, leveraging a system marketing professionals have used for years. Regardless of which system is employed, technology has no doubt contributed by proactively creating talent pipelines to meet critical hiring needs.

Recently, there is debate on whether recruitment, currently being a function under human resources, should fall under marketing. Many agree that recruitment should function as its own entity. Although there is merit in partnering with HR and marketing among other key stakeholders, as talent acquisition professionals we provide a unique and invaluable service to our hiring managers, senior leaders, and CEOs.

My questions are: Why are we not listed as our own function? Why can we not have our own listing in the drop down menus of job boards? We are lumped under human resources. HR has an important place in a corporation and some of their governance can apply to hiring; however, acquiring talent is a skill of its own, not a duty for an HR role. Many organizations understand this and have a separate leader and team structure to support the attraction and acquiring of new talent into and within their organization. We are labeled as recruitment, not HR specialists, and rightly so. It’s time for the next stage in our evolution. It’s time for us to showcase our function a key contributor, noteworthy of distinction, because we already are.

The way in which we interact with hiring managers and senior leaders has also evolved. We were once an order taker and more recently are partnering with managers to understand their hiring needs, conduct panel interviews, evaluate candidates, and close the deal, i.e. hire the chosen candidate. Today, in many cases, the recruiter is a right-hand partner, providing advice and guidance not only on the hiring process but also the job market, strength of internal and external candidate pools, and industry trends. With data comes analytics and potential solutions to key challenges. As an industry of professional talent acquisition experts, we are getting better at this every day. The emergence of “big data” and metrics helps to identify critical talent, enables us to source more strategically, and provide intelligence on how the competition is performing in efforts to hire talent.

It’s time to be visible, on our own, separately, not a division of someone or something else, not a separate department, with our own VP. This is our evolution today.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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